25,000 PCR tests are conducted daily to classify Covid patients, according to Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi, who reported in Parliament Tuesday (04) that it costs about Rs. 40 million per day.
The Minister said the government is implementing a strong program to tackle the COVID epidemic, during a debate in Parliament yesterday (04) on an adjournment motion on the current COVID pandemic situation in the country.
Minister Wanniarachchi said 13,800 hospital beds have been reserved for COVID patients and within the next two weeks a further 10,000 beds would be added to treat patients. She added that 104 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds have been allocated for the treatment of Covid patients and another 138 ICU beds are being prepared.
“When facing this epidemic, all sectors must be managed and our economy must be strong enough to buy everything needed to control COVID while decisions must be taken so that the economy of the people does not collapse,” she said.
At present 25,000 PCR tests are conducted daily and the tests cost over Rs. 400 lakhs a day, the Minister said.
Minister Wanniarachchi said a planned program was underway to effectively manage the Covid epidemic and steps had been taken to increase the oxygen capacity of hospitals.
The current Oxygen production in the country is around 23 tonnes, and steps have been taken to increase it to around 80 tonnes, she said adding that orders have been placed for the purchase of 4000 jumbo oxygen cylinders. Ms. Wanniarachchi stated that 400 of them have been received so far. She said the oxygen suppliers had also ordered an additional 7,000 jumbo cylinders.
The Minister said the Government is hopeful of vaccinating 63% of the total population of the country by year end. The Government had ordered 13 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, of which 15,000 doses were received in Sri Lanka yesterday. She added that the rest would be received in batches.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has promised to supply more China-made vaccines to Sri Lanka as soon as the Chinese vaccine is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and will continue to provide vaccinations to the public, the Minister said.